�Even in this seemingly good time, the war went one. The land of Ellis was getting reports of an army of Katarii in that region. Thank the gods that the Sheltova don't have space travel, thought Michello as he walked through the West Ellis Forest. "Why don't they come up with names a little more unique for a forest?" He then said aloud, not expecting an answer. The dinner at Teias' house a couple days ago was a success. Now Karissa was in Michello and Teias' circle of friends. The three did everything together.
The afternoon was hot and humid, bugs droned on and birds could be heard. The dense wood of the West Ellis was thick and green. Through the brush, Michello could see huge leaves of many dark colors and vines; Thick and long. The sun itself, could not be seen, but it cast its deep red rays still. In the distance, the tinkling of water could be heard.
Michello was following the thin path to a small spring he knew well. It was one of those lazy, balmy days so he thought a little tranquility wouldn't hurt. He would have invited Teias, for the company is always good to have, but he was working with his father. Besides, even a little "alone" time is sometimes good. He had reached the small clearing, and the stream that the spring fed. The trickling of the water and the sound of numerous birds and insects almost made him fall over asleep.
"What, no water toys?" He said to himself, chuckling. "Guess I'll have to make due with this." Removing his stiff and taking a type of cleaning soap out of a sack on his shoulder. A stiff was really just for showing off or for showing rank anyway. Many Xanitaur only wore one for ceremonies and festivals. Teias only wore one at the Academy or when working in his father's shop. After pondering the point of even wearing a stiff, Michello started to wash his in the cool water. Watching the faded blues and greens in his hands.
"So you like to come here too, eh?" Came a familiar voice over his shoulder.
"What?" He stumbled. "Oh, hi, hey Karissa. I didn't see you." She was sitting on a stump near the end of the stream, where the glade met the wood. It was really an island of grass, in a sea of woods.
"Apparently not." She said jokingly. She laughed and came over to him, "What you didn't think you were the only one who knew of this spot did you? Hah, what a male." She then giggled, shaking her head.
"Did Teias show you this?" Michello asked, trying to recover.
"Yeah. It really is a beautiful spot." She sighed. "I've actually come here a lot ever since we became friends. To... think I guess." She smiled. "Hey, the sun's going down. Could you walk me back? I don't know my way in the dark."
Funny, we have perfect night vision, He thought. "Bet you're glad this 'male' is here now." He said, getting up and slinging his still wet stiff over his shoulder.
She looked away and smiled, "Thanks". Then they both walked from the glade, closer to each other than they have ever been.
Then, through the calm, they heard the drums, the horns, and the cries from Ellispire.